The German finance ministry is in the Zcash news today for stating that the criminal use of Zcash (ZEC) along with the use of Monero (XMR) is rising. In a recent report, the German ministry added that the use of anonymous crypto assets might one day replace the one of Bitcoin on the dark web.
The report in which the German finance ministry is featured is highlighting the differences between different crypto assets. While blockchain forensics firms can often link an individual to a Bitcoin wallet, anonymity-preserving protocols limit their efficacy.
Focused on money laundering and terrorist financing, the report is titled “The First National Risk Analysis” and was published by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Finance on October 11. The ministry started assessing the existing and future risks that could contribute to the proliferation of such financial crimes in December 2017.
Around 35 other federal and state authorities joined the German finance ministry in its research. The analysis that they carried out identifies the use of crypto assets as a potential risk factor for the future. However, it also makes a clear distinction between pseudo-anonymous cryptos such as Bitcoin and privacy-oriented coins such as Monero and Zcash.
The Monero news also show that the German finance ministry thinks that the risk posed by anonymous cryptocurrencies is far greater than the one of the likes of Bitcoin. Their anonymous nature is what makes policing criminal acts associated with their use much tougher. Therefore, criminals may start using Monero (XMR) and Zcash (ZEC) more frequently.
The ministry also observed the use on the dark web or as a method of financing terrorism and how it still remains low. However, the popularity for these anonymous cryptocurrencies is definitely growing.
In the full report, the German finance ministry also states that there is not much evidence of any cryptocurrency being used in connection with terrorist financing in Germany. However, the ministry claims to have identified its use in relation to occasional groups of religious extremists and the far-right.
What’s also interesting is their stance on cash. As the ministry said:
“The use of cash, in contrast to the use of pseudonymous crypto assets, leaves no traceable footprint and is easy to handle, so it can be assumed that, for example, the transfer of funds in the field of terrorism financing alongside hawala and money transfer service providers currently continues mainly via cash couriers.”
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North Korea Is Focused On Mining More Monero Than 2019
"We have observed an at least tenfold increase in Monero mining activity from North Korean IP ranges since May 2019. We believe that Monero’s anonymity and lower processing power requirements likely make Monero more attractive than Bitcoin to North Korean users.’’Monero is a privacy coin that makes it extremely hard for anyone to try and see who is sending or receiving transactions. It has been used in illegal activities previously and it is often accepted on the dark web by cryptojackers and hackers in a bid to try and steal other people’s computer power to mine cryptocurrency. The reports showed that North Korea is focused on mining more Monero since it is using the coin since August 2017 when the Bitcoin proceeds from cyberattacks were swapped to Monero. The reports also show that the North Korean military is trying to engage in crypto mining as well but the United Nations analysis are not certain if the same entity is responsible for mining the privacy coin:
"We assess that cryptocurrencies are a valuable tool for North Korea as an independent, loosely regulated source of revenue generation, but also as a means for moving and using illicitly obtained funds.’’North Korea has even considered the idea of creating its own digital currency which could potentially be used to surpass the sanctions imposed by the United States. The former Ethereum foundation member Virgil Griffiths who visited the country for a conference pleaded innocent to the charges that he was conspiring with the country to avoid the US sanctions. Virgil Griffith, the Ethereum foundation researcher has been denied bail in New York after he was initially arrested in North Korea so now he will be appealing the action. The charges against Griffith could end in giving him 20 years in a jail prison sentence. He allegedly disowned the status as an American national via text messages to members of his family which were later quoted by the US Attorney’s office.
Monero Hack Group ‘Outlaw’ Starts Targeting American Businesses
"[W]e expect the group to be more active in the coming months as we observed changes on the versions we acquired.’’Although Outlaw confined itself only to computer systems in China, Trend Micro’s report found that it was targeting businesses in the United States. The company found that the group targeted a few honeypots- a machismo that is designed to lure the hackers to attack it which was situated across the Eastern European region. The report didn’t explain where the names of the businesses that were affected by the malware. The Monero hack group also tried to steal information and to sell it to the highest bidder and the companies in the auto industry have not updated their internet security systems so they are now at high risk. Outlaw first came to light in 2018 after installing crypto-mining bots in the software of the Internet of Things devices. In 2019, Trend Micro announced that the group is attacking computer systems in China with a similar malware design that could hijack computer power to mine monero. Malware that is able to hijack the computer’s power to mine monero is not something new. In 2018, more than half a million computers were infected with a botnet that was able to mine 9,000 XMR tokens over nine months. Being a privacy coin, hackers can sell Monero without the risk of detection from the authorities.
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